Wild Lockdown: Nursing Kits

3 May 2020

I have been busy observing our local European beaver (Castor fiber) family. I am very happy with this photo, which we managed to take last night, as it proves that the female is nursing kits!

European beavers are monogamous and have one litter per year. They mate in January to March. The gestation period is 105-107 days. The usual litter size is 2-4. The kits remain in the den for the first few weeks. They can swim, but not dive when they are little because their fur makes them too buoyant. Since the entrance to the den is constantly under water, they cannot get out until they are heavy enough to dive and rely on their parents to rescue them in case of rising waters.

The kits are being nursed for the first two months but start eating solid foods from age 3 weeks. I hope we will soon see them swimming with their parents and older sibling born last year who will help rearing them until it will have to move on before next year's litter will be born.

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